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"Disablement" Possible before End of Year?

Park Hyun Min  |  2007-07-23 11:55
The six party talks reconvened on the 18th in Beijing, however ended on the 20th with the conclusion that further discussions would be made regarding the stages of disablement within the respective working groups.

On this afternoon, members of the six party talks finally discussed the declaration. The declaration stated the resume of talks between the 5 working groups within the month of August, the reconvening of the second phase of the 6th round of six party talks in early September, and the opening of a meeting of six party foreign affairs ministers following the initial meetings.

In particular, the declaration agreed that a conclusion would be made following the results of the working group meeting and second phase of the six party talks in early September. However, criticisms are rising over the inability to make a time limit on disablement.

The South Korean head delegate for the six party talks Chun Young Woo expressed great anticipations on the 18th saying, Disablement will be possible within the next 5, 6 months as long as Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan indicates no technical difficulties and appropriate measures are simultaneously made by the 5 member states.

However, on the second day of the talks he said, This is an extremely complicated issue. Nobody expected to reach a conclusion in these talks, even from the beginning and commented as if to defend his previous remarks, Parties are sharing mutual feelings in opening discussions in the working groups and using this as a basis to draft the agenda of the next six party talks.

On the other hand, U.S. head delegate Assistant Secretary Christopher Hill said regarding the indefinite time schedule to disable and to list of nuclear programs that conclusions could not be drawn as working level issues had not been settled. He also said that the issue of disablement could be completed within the end of year if luck prevailed.

Cheong Seong Chang of the Sejong Institute commented in a conversation with the DailyNK, The main purposes of the talks were to examine the initial phrase for the implementation of the February 13 Agreement and to discuss the direction of the schedule following the talks.

Further, he prospected that disablement would be possible despite the obstacles faced by the U.S. and North Korea in making an agreement regarding the disablement measures. Mr. Cheong analyzed, North Korea already possesses 6~10 nuclear weapons. Hence, as long as they are provided with a substantial compensation, disablement of the nuclear facilities should go one way or another.

He said, The issue is the next stage. The stage where the nuclear weapons are abolished is a complicated and difficult stage and prospected, There are many issues to be resolved including the support of light water reactors. The process of abolishing the nuclear weapons is forecasted to take 7~10 years.

Contrastingly, Jeon Sung Hoon a senior researcher for the Korea Institute for National Unification said, Nothing good nor particularly bad resulted from the meeting and analyzed, With the upcoming South Korean presidential election at the end of this year, North Korea is not going to want to hear rumors of breaking up the talks.

He said, However, like U.S. opinion, the achievement of disablement by the end of year is impossible and Though the disablement process may be started, the disablement issue is not a simple proposal, just like it could be forfeited after receiving 100,000tons of fuel. Further, he said, It would be good if the six party talks succeeded. However, the narrow-minded view that the six party talks is the only way to solve the issues must be erased.
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